Nepali Musical Culture


Maruni Is a Nepalese folk dance of the Magar community. Alongside Nepal, it is popular in Nepalese diasporic communities of Eastern Nepal and India (Darjeeling, Assam, Sikkim), Bhutan and Myanmar. It is one of the oldest and most famous dance of the Nepalese community residing in these regions, originally danced as part of Dashain and Tihar festival. Dressed colorfully with rich ornaments, the dancers dance to commemorate "the victory of good over evil", accompanied by the traditional Nepali Naumati Baja orchestra Maruni Nach has been one of the significant identity of the Magar community since from the distant past until the present moment. In recent years, the dance has become in danger of extinction, due to lack of interest by young people in learning it. That fear has begun to mobilize some communities Today, the community is pushing its young people to preserve the Maruni Nach The dance originated with the Magar community, and later on, people from the various communities started adopting it. Maruni as danced in Western Nepal is different than in other places. Maruni and Sorathi dances were created in Western Nepal by the Magar community, and Magars who migrated to Eastern Nepal started to make small changes as they performed it there too. Nowadays other communities like Gurung, Kirat, and Khas also dance the Maruni dance on various occasions In the Balihang festival, Maruni, Sorathi, and Hurra (dances performed by the eastern Magars also known as Deusi Nach) are performed. It is believed to be originated from Magar Army during the 14th century on the behalf of sick King Balihang Rana Magar of Palpa, Pokhara Butwal. Balihang Rana Magar was a king during the 14th century (of Palpa, Pokhara, Baldeng, Butwal & Gorkhapur) during which the kingdom was extended from Palpa to Butwal and Gorakhpur. Deusi Re means "Priest-King" and Bahilo means "Let us help" which are related to the Balihang Rana Magar. With time, Maruni was performed even during many personal events, especially marriages. Maruni is performed by both men and women who dress in colorful clothes, shining ornaments, and nose rings. Maruni performed by the Eastern Magars goes through several parts, like "Jhyaure, Saran Maruni, Sorathi Garra, Khyali, Maruni performed for the welfare of the danced house and at the last Maruni performed for accomplishing the dance. The dancers are usually accompanied by a clown who is called 'Dhatu Waray' which means liar but acts as comedian/joker. In the many forms of Maruni, nine unique instruments are used with the dance and this is called the Naumati Baja. The styles of this dance vary according to where it is danced. The dance has different categories and styles depending on the songs. The song lyrics have purely based on their life and culture.


Deuda Dance or Deuda Khel is a Nepali genre of song and dance, performed in the Sudurpashchim and Karnali provinces of Nepal, as well as in the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand state of India. It is performed on the occasion of various festivals, such as Gaura. The dance is performed by singing Deuda songs in a circulus by holding each-other's hands. It is considered as part of the cultural heritage of Karnali Province. Deuda songs are very popular in Dailekh, Kalikot, Jumla, Achham, Bajang, Doti, Dadeldhura, Baitadi, Bajura and Darchula. It is performed by group of male and female. It is performed during the feasts and festivals like Gaura Parva Etymology and history The word deuda means slanted or crooked. The dance is called so because during performance the legs are moved in slanted manners. The song sung during the dance is also known as nyaauli after a bird. The dance is known as Dhacha in Jajarkot district. The dance form is said to be originated in the historical Khasa Kingdom in Sinja valley of Jumla district. The dance was then spread around the neighbouring regions of the valley. Performance[ Verse of a song "Shanta bibhatsa ra sringar aadi sahayak rasaharu pani. Pashchima ma Kangra jityeu purba pugyeu Tista Singha jastai bir Gorkhali angrez bhaye phista. Kaag basyo sallika tuwa kalchya basyo khola Aaja yo khel jitera janchu jeje hola hola." The men and women each form a group and hold hands while dancing in a circle. The song is sung without any musical instrument. The songs sung while performing Deuda is in Khas language spoken around the far-western and mid-western regions. The verse of the song alternates between question presented by male/female group and the answer by the opposite group. There are multiple subgenres of Deuda such as Thadi Bhakha, Rateri, Hudkeuli and Dhamari. Song Deuda dance song is sung in folk verse. In terms of letter structure, it consists of 14 syllables in a row. The songs sung during Deuda could be of various types such as political, social, domestic, romantic, etc. The lyrics are lyrical and rhythmic in nature. Some of the lyrics may also contains historical elements such as description of the valor of Nepalese people in past.


Jhyaure is a traditional Nepali folk dance that originated in the hills of Nepal. It is a joyful and energetic dance that is typically performed by young men and women during festivals, weddings, and other social occasions. Jhyaure is often performed in groups of 10 to 12 dancers, and the dancers are usually dressed in brightly colored traditional clothing. The dance is accompanied by traditional Nepali music, which is played on a variety of instruments including the madal, damphu, and flute. The rhythm of the music is fast and lively, and the dancers move in sync with the beat, performing a series of steps and jumps that are designed to showcase their skill and agility. The Jhyaure dance is typically performed in a circular formation, with the dancers holding hands and moving in a clockwise direction. As they dance, the dancers often sing along with the music, adding their own vocal embellishments and improvisations to the melody. This dance represent the western part of the Nepal. In this kind of dance firstly the rhythm and song plays slowly but in second and third round the rhythm and song goes very fast. The dance performer also should perform his/her performance very fast which is very entertaining. Basically it is the culture of Gurung and Magar communities One of the distinctive features of Jhyaure is the use of hand gestures and body movements that are designed to tell a story or convey a message. For example, the dancers might use hand gestures to depict the movements of animals, or use body language to convey emotions such as joy, sorrow, or anger. In addition to being a form of entertainment, Jhyaure is also an important cultural tradition in Nepal. The dance is passed down from generation to generation, with families and communities preserving the music and dance steps for future generations to enjoy. Overall, Jhyaure is a vibrant and dynamic dance form that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. Through its lively music and intricate dance steps, it captures the spirit of the Nepali people and showcases the joy and vitality of their culture.


Ghatu dance is a Nepalese folk dance of the Gurung community of western Nepal. The dance is performed mainly during Baisakh Purnima (full moon day of the Hindu month Baisakh) festival. The dance is started on the previous new moon day of the same month. The dancers are selected on the day of Shree Panchami and then trained for three/four months. Alongside Gurung community, the dance is also performed by people of Magar, Dura, Balami and Kumal communities. In Ghatu dance performance, the story of king Pashramu and queen Yambawati (or Champawati) is presented. Among the two main Ghatu dancers (known as Ghatusari), one plays the role of the king and other plays the role of the queen. King Pashramu goes on a hunt where he meets Yambawati. They marry each other. They have a child. King Pashramu goes on a war, where he dies. The queen then decides to go on a Sati and immolate herself on her husband's pyre. The dancers go in a trance state during the dance. There are two type of Ghatu dances: • Bahramase Ghatu • Sati Ghatu. Bahramase Ghatu could be performed throughout the year and the daily activities of people such as farming and domestic work are presented in this Ghatu. Sati can only be performed from Shree Panchami (December/January) to Baisakh Purnima (April/ May.) In Sati Ghatu, the main story of the king and queen is presented and during the dance, the dancers goes in a trance like state (known to be as being possessed by Kusunda). The dancers then dance in meticulously slow steps. The Ghatu song is usually sung by the men, which is accompanied by the Madal drum. The song is passed orally from generation to generation. Alongside the story of Pashramu and Yambawati, different daily domestic and agricultural practice are also presented. The performance is divided into multiple parts known as Dandi. On the night before the dance, the villagers have a feast (known as dar). On the day of the dance, the priest and dancers only eat fruits. After performing special puja, the dance is begun. The dance is concluded on the day of Baisakh Purnima. The dance is concluded on some specific temples and river basins with official rituals by the priest. After the dance is concluded with official rituals, the performance of the dance is restricted until Shree Panchami. Although Bahramase Ghatu (transl. of all twelve months) could be performed throughout the year, it is also generally avoided until the day of Shree Panchami. Since the tradition is handed over orally, the exact origin of the dance is unknown. There are many anomalies between the dance practice and the general practice of Gurung people. Gurung people follow Buddhist and Bon practices, while the dance is related to Hindu customs. Many aspects of the dance including Sati are alien to Gurung culture. The language of the song is also not in Gurung or any related language but in some Indo-Aryan language close to old Nepali language with influence of Awadhi language. It is also speculated that the queen Yambawati may be a woman from the southern plains who brought the song with her. King Pashramu and queen Yambawati are also considered to be the sixteenth century king and queen of the Lamjung kingdom of Nepal. The dancers are dressed in Gurung cultural dress and jewelries. A crown made of flowers and roasted paddy is also worn by the dancers. Various props such as horse for the king, comb for the queen. bow and arrow are made each year by the people, which are used during the dance. The dancers of Ghatu dance are known as Ghatusari. Traditionally, Ghatusari are selected on the day of Shree Panchami after a special puja. Prepubescent girls without any scar in their bodies and whose hair has not been trimmed since birth are selected as Ghatusari. The girls are then made to sing Ghatu songs and among them, two of the girls who are possessed by the Ghatu are chosen for the dance.

5. Lakhe

Lakhe Dance is a one of the most popular traditional musical culture from Nepal which is performed by the Newar community on the occasion of a special festival like Indrajatra. In this dance, dancers wear the colorful dresses and terrific masks and show their aggression by different type of movements. Lakhe dance is very interesting so it is very popular among the nepali people. This dance is performed in different places of the Nepal during Gnulla festival and in Kathmandu during Indra Jatra. The dance begins with the loud and noisy sound of traditional musical instruments such as Mridanga, damphu, dhyangro, jhyali , which are played by the accompanying musicians. The dance movements are characterized by jumps, twists, and turns, which are accompanied by the beating of drums and cymbals. During the performance, the Lakhe dancers interact with the audience and perform various stunts, such as jumping over a fire or climbing a pole. The dance also features a lot of humor and entertainment, which keeps the audience engaged. It is said that demon king Kansa used his sister Putna to kill the lord Krishna. All peple love the Krishna, so It is a tradition to pray for the death of Putna, which started on the day of Nag Panchami, remembering that putana died on that day. It is said that when King Harisinhadeva brought Taleju Bhawani from Simraungadh to the valley, Lakhe was brought along with the goddess. Some argue that Thakuri Raja who came from Nuwakot brought Lakhe to the valley. According to the genealogy of the Nepalese language, it is also said that King Gunakamdev started the tradition of lakhe dance. People from other communities as well as foreign tourists flock to see the dance. There is an old saying that this dance is performed at night so that ghosts do not come and dead souls do not cause pain. Overall, the Lakhe dance is an important part of Nepali culture and heritage. It is a colorful and vibrant dance form that showcases the unique traditions and customs of the Newari community

6. Kaura

Kaura is a traditional dance form that originated in the western region of Nepal, specifically in the Kali Gandaki River valley. It is a cultural expression of the Magar community, who are one of the indigenous ethnic groups of Nepal. Kaura dance is typically performed during special occasions and festivals, such as weddings, harvest festivals, and religious ceremonies. The word "Kaura" means "bowl" in the Magar language, and the dance is named after the clay bowls that are used as musical instruments during the performance. The dance is characterized by its fast-paced, rhythmic movements and the use of a unique percussion instrument known as the madal. The madal is a cylindrical drum made of wood and animal hide, which is played with both hands. The sound produced by the madal is the backbone of the Kaura dance, and it sets the pace for the dancers. The dance is performed by a group of dancers, usually consisting of both men and women. The dancers wear traditional Magar clothing, which includes colorful skirts, jackets, and headgear. The women wear long, flowing skirts with vibrant patterns, while the men wear loose-fitting pants and jackets. The dancers also wear colorful beads and ornaments, which add to the visual appeal of the performance. The Kaura dance is a highly choreographed performance, with each movement and step carefully planned and rehearsed. The dancers move in a circular pattern, with the women typically in the center and the men on the outside. The dance begins with a slow, rhythmic beat, which gradually builds in intensity and speed. As the tempo increases, the dancers perform intricate footwork and hand gestures, which are synchronized with the music. One of the unique features of the Kaura dance is the use of the bowls as musical instruments. The dancers hold the bowls in their hands and strike them against each other in a rhythmic pattern, creating a distinct sound that adds to the overall rhythm of the dance. The bowls are also used as props, with the dancers balancing them on their heads or shoulders while they dance. The Kaura dance is not just a form of entertainment; it is also a way for the Magar community to preserve their cultural heritage and identity. The dance is passed down from generation to generation, and it plays an important role in connecting the community to its past. It is a celebration of the Magar people's history, traditions, and way of life. In conclusion, Kaura is a traditional dance form of the Magar community in Nepal that is characterized by its fast-paced, rhythmic movements, and the use of clay bowls as musical instruments. It is a highly choreographed performance that is often performed during special occasions and festivals. The dance is an important part of the Magar culture, and it plays a crucial role in preserving the community's identity and heritage.


Charya Nritya is a Nepalese ritual dance with a history going back more than 1,000 years. It is performed by Newar Buddhist priests known as  Bajracharya as part of their esoteric meditation practices and rituals. The dancers represent various deities like the Five Buddhas, Manjushree, Vajrayogini and Tara. The song accompanying the dance opens with a salutation and describes the deity's characteristics and accessories. It is a sacred dance that is performed in Buddhist temples during religious ceremonies and festivals. Charya dance is a form of meditation that is performed by trained dancers who are known as Charyapadas. The dance is accompanied by music and chanting, and it is believed to help the dancers achieve a state of inner peace and enlightenment.The origins of Charya dance can be traced back to the 8th century AD when the great Buddhist master Padmasambhava introduced the Vajrayana Buddhist teachings to Tibet and Nepal. He is said to have brought with him the dance and music of the dakini (female wisdom deities) from India. The dance form evolved over time and became an integral part of the Newar Buddhist culture.Charya dance is performed in the Kathmandu valley during the annual festival of Indra Jatra, which is held in honor of the Hindu god Indra. The dance is also performed during other festivals such as Buddha Jayanti, the birthday of Lord Buddha, and during the New Year festival of Nepal Sambat.The Charya dance is performed in a circular formation with the Charyapadas dressed in colorful traditional costumes. The dancers use hand gestures and facial expressions to convey different meanings and emotions. The dance movements are graceful and fluid, and they are accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as drums, cymbals, and flutes.The dance has a symbolic significance and is believed to represent the transformation of negative emotions into positive ones. The dance is a form of spiritual practice that helps the dancers to achieve a state of inner peace and enlightenment. The Charyapadas are highly trained dancers who undergo rigorous training in dance, music, and meditation to prepare for the performance.In conclusion, Charya dance is a unique and ancient form of dance that is deeply rooted in the Newar Buddhist culture of Nepal. It is a form of spiritual practice that combines dance, music, and meditation and is performed during religious ceremonies and festivals. The dance is a symbol of transformation and enlightenment and is an important part of Nepal's cultural heritage.

8. Sorathi

Sorathi dance is a traditional dance form of the Gurung community in Nepal, primarily performed during the harvest festival of Tihar or Diwali. The dance is usually performed by a group of women dressed in traditional Gurung attire, which includes a colorful blouse and skirt, a waistband called 'kachhad' and a shawl or scarf called 'phariya'.
The dance is performed to the beats of traditional musical instruments like the madal, dholak, and tungna. The dancers form a circle or a semicircle and move in a synchronized manner, swaying their hips and arms to the rhythm of the music. The dance is characterized by fast footwork and graceful movements, with the dancers occasionally breaking away from the group to perform individual steps.
The Sorathi dance is often accompanied by songs that tell stories of love, nature, and life in the Gurung community. The lyrics are usually in the Gurung language and are passed down from generation to generation through oral traditions.
One of the unique features of the Sorathi dance is the use of 'Jhoomer', a circular metal ornament worn by the dancers around their ankles, which produces a rhythmic sound when they move their feet. The sound of the Jhoomer is an essential component of the dance and adds to the overall festive atmosphere of the performance.
Apart from being a form of entertainment, Sorathi dance also has significant cultural and social significance in the Gurung community. It is an essential part of the community's cultural identity and serves as a means of preserving and celebrating their traditional customs and values.
In conclusion, Sorathi dance is a vibrant and colorful dance form that embodies the spirit and traditions of the Gurung community in Nepal. With its fast footwork, graceful movements, and lively music, the dance is a joyous celebration of life, love, and nature.

9. Chandi

The Chandi Dance is a traditional dance form of the Kirant community of Nepal, which is performed during various festive occasions and cultural events like undhauli and unbhauli. The dance is dedicated to their god and goddess, who is worshipped by the Kirant people as the protector of the community. The Chandi Dance is usually performed by a group of dancers, both male and female, dressed in traditional Kiranti attire. The dancers form a circle and move in a circular motion, accompanied by the beat of the traditional drums and other musical instruments. The dance typically begins with a slow and rhythmic movement, gradually building up to a more energetic and fast-paced tempo. The dancers perform a variety of intricate steps and movements, including jumps, twists, and turns, while maintaining the circular formation. The Chandi Dance is not just a form of entertainment, but also holds deep spiritual significance for the Kirant community. The dance is believed to invoke the blessings of the goddess Chandi, who is revered as a powerful and benevolent deity. In addition to its religious and cultural significance, the Chandi Dance is also an important symbol of the Kirant community's identity and heritage. Through the dance, the Kiranti people express their pride in their culture and traditions, and their commitment to preserving them for future generations. Overall, the Chandi Dance is a vibrant and captivating form of cultural expression that showcases the rich traditions and beliefs of the Kirant community of Nepal.
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